Gentle reader, I have been away in Chicago all last week attending Sage Summit. I’ll be back with a wrap-up post a bit later this week, but for now, I’m trying to catch up on work and prep to go teach a workshop out of town later this week. In the mean time, I bring you this guest post from MGID: 9 Content Trends for content creators and advertisers in 2016.
At MGID, a leading native performance advertising network, we see thousands of ads and serve millions more of them every month. We track the performance of every ad served and work with advertisers and publishers to optimize the messages.
Yes, we have secrets that we share only with customers. But, there are also big picture trends that we want to share with everyone interested in native advertising, hopefully benefitting the entire industry.
Here are nine key trends that are redefining native advertising right now:
1. Visual storytelling
To sell a product you must give people a success story. They will react better to Jane’s or Jeremy ‘s experience – someone who is just like them – than a celebrity or millionaire. People relate best to someone with the same health and beauty issues, the same tech and household needs, the same travel and relationship dreams.
Any dating offers will be sold better with reference to the look in a parent’s eyes after having a child with the love they met online. Tell that story: Add photos of their “boring routine before they met each other.” Share a few words on how difficult it is to find a perfect match today – lonely evenings, frozen foods, married friends. Mentioning these challenges in a story will help the reader recognize him or herself and relate to the ad.
2. Bloggers and Instagram stars
This is similar to word-of-mouth marketing, but is personal for the target group you are trying to reach. Let them promote your offer, be the hero of your advertorial, and their army of their followers will be with you. This is not the same as using more traditional celebrity endorsers. These online stars have what their followers consider a personal relationship with them.
3. Video reigns supreme
The demand for visual media is rising. The reason for this trend is the increase in wireless internet connections, allowing online users more opportunities to view and listen to videos on their mobile devices.
Video content is the skyrocketing to the top of all possible ways to grab one’s attention. People can watch it with no sound (e.g. sitting in a line or at the therapist) or just listening while driving a car. Today everyone wants to learn something or be entertained during idle moments during their day. Video content will only become more enticing for mobile users as the development in mobile technology and data services increases.
4. Infographics and GIFs are powerful tools
The reason for their effectiveness is that they grab attention in a creative, attractive and easily understandable manner. They are also very easy to create. There are a lot of free sources available online that help you find the information you want to show. Interactive content will surpass timelines and newsfeeds for effectiveness.
5. Interview context
When writing your content, use questions your audience might pose. Give people answers from the expert. Which expert? You decide.
6. Fun-centric ads
This is another hot trend some advertisers are missing. People are tired of being serious. Having fun won’t do any harm. Use viral memes and comics to represent all but the most serious content. It keeps people relaxed and entertained. Humor is always a good thing to click and share with others.
7. ”Now” buttons
It’s all about saving time and satisfying impulses, a subliminal trick that keeps users engaged even if they don’t admit it. People really love “buy it now” and “watch now” buttons because they invite seamless purchasing and promise an entertaining experience.
This kind of content has become the most shareable on Facebook for the first half of 2016 and provides a perfect call to action. You can start with something as simple as a link to your website, or maybe even personalized links to product recommendations.
9. Episodic Content
This is 2016’s “hot ticket”: Content is broken up into chapters and can utilize different ad campaigns as well. Getting information or entertainment in segments keeps users interested and coming back for more because they are eager to see and hear every update. Withholding information helps to drive a more engaged audience over time since the anticipation heightens user loyalty and the intensity of the experience.
We encourage you to experiment with these content trends. Select the ones that will best showcase your product, mix them if it makes sense, and prepare to watch your engagement levels explode. Tell us how you do.